'There's a very clear fingerprint': Inside the MU lab looking for omicron variant in wastewater

Dec 3, 2021

COLUMBIA, Mo. — A team of two dozen University of Missouri-Columbia researchers is looking for the first sign of the highly-mutated omicron COVID-19 variant in Missouri's wastewater.

Microbiologist Dr. Marc Johnson told the KSHB 41 I-Team that researchers will recognize omicron when they see it.

"So alpha, the area we sequence, had two changes that we looked for. Delta also had two changes. Omicron will have 12 changes, so there’s a very clear fingerprint," Johnson said.


The Sewershed Surveillance Project takes more than 160 weekly samples from wastewater facilities across the state. About one dozen of those are from the Kansas City metro.

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